Did science save China?

As a part of  Nature’s 150-year anniversary collection of publications, Shellen Wu argues that it is an awakening of the spirit of scientific inquiry that has been responsible for the changes that have improved the living standards of this vast nation (Wu, 2019) —  that  “The red thread that runs through China’s past 150 years is its unwavering belief in science as the path to wealth and power.” It is an optimistic account of the power of the scientific method akin to Steven Pinker’s account of the transformation in the quality of living that occurred after the enlightenment in Europe (Pinker, 2018). Both narratives echo the dramatic changes in surgical care that have resulted from science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Beginning with pioneers such as Joseph Lister and James Lindt.

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